Sam runs her fingers over the photograph, a sad smile on her lips. She still misses her father, but she’s never so grateful for the extra time Selmek had bought as when she looks at this snap, taken during one of his last visits. Her dad stands in the middle, huge grin on his face, one arm around her, the other around Mark – a rare, true family portrait. With a sigh she places it into one of her bags. She’s allowed two, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for personal mementos, but there’s no question in her mind that this is going.
Her spine stiffens at the soft click of the front door being closed. Then she relaxes as a very familiar sensation warms her blood. In retrospect, she’s surprised he didn’t come sooner, mixed with a wry sort of relief that he’s come at all. He has been in a monumental snit since her transfer was issued. “I don’t suppose that I can be assured you won’t break into my house while I’m gone?” she asks as the tickle over her skin increases. She scans the room for anything else that she’s missed.
“On the contrary; you can be very assured of it.”
Baal’s tone is far too smug. Sam knows before she turns around, before she sees him dressed in the black BDUs that are the Daedalus’ uniform. Her hands settle on her hips and she shakes her head. “I don’t even want to know,” she tells him. “But if my voice mail is backed up, I am going to do something painful to you.”
“Love you too,” he says, effectively ending the argument before it’s really begun. She doesn’t have a comeback to that. He knows that as well, given the cocky grin on his face.
“I’m curious as to why, though.” She frowns down at her bags, wondering if she’s missed anything vitally important. She doubts Caldwell will turn the Daedalus around if she forgets something. “Was the lure of all that Ancient technology too much to resist?”
“There is that,” Baal allows, swinging the backpack off his shoulder to sit on her bed. “I do have other reasons, though.”
She looks at him and waits. When it’s clear that he’s not going to give that information up willingly, she arches her eyebrows. “Which are?”
“Well, aside from the fact that as entertaining as Qetesh can be, conversations with SG One are insipidly boring. Also, the reports that have come from Atlantis seem to feature trouble at an alarming rate. Even their investigations of the city have resulted in some... interesting events.”
Sam runs that over in her mind, then smiles. “You were worried about me.”
“Is that not what I said?”
“Not in so many words, no.”
He hitches a shoulder. Sam zips her bag closed and moves to him. Placing her hands on his broad shoulders, she bends and kisses him lightly. There is more to it – she’s sure of that – but right now, that’ll do nicely. She runs a hand over his short hair. “Promise me that you’ll behave?”
“Me? Oh, I always behave, Samantha.”He grins again and his hands grip her hips. Before she knows it, she’s straddling his thighs and most of her blouse is undone. “I just don’t always behave well.”
“No,” she agrees. She slaps his hand away before it reaches her breast. “I had noticed that.”
“Behaving well is boring.”
“You seem to find a great many things boring.” She pushes against his chest and stands up. Rectifying the damages he’s caused, she adds, “As excuses go, you could do with better.”
He leans back on his hands, eyelids half-closed as he watches her with heated eyes. “You would be bored with me if I behaved myself.”
Sam sighs. It is, sadly, more than likely the truth. Physically, he is gorgeous and she’d have to be insane not to find him attractive, but it’s not just about physical attraction. She likes him because he’s irreverent, because he makes her laugh about inappropriate things, and a little because she really shouldn’t want to be with an ex-System Lord. In short, a large part of the attraction is the lure of the forbidden. He’s not so much badly behaved as damn right dangerous.
“Possibly,” she says, then shakes her head as his eyes glow. “Stop it – I don’t have time. We don’t have time, since you’ve decided to invite yourself along for the ride.”
“We weren’t,” she tells him. Sighing again, she gives him a pleading look. “Please, can I just get organised? I have–” She checks her watch and winces. “Half an hour before the Daedalus leaves. I would like to be on time.”
Baal flops backwards on her bed, arms thrown out in apparent surrender. “But I want you now,” he complains and actually pouts at her. She has absolutely no sympathy whatsoever.
“And whose fault is that? If you’d not been sulking over my reassignment, you could have spent the night with me.” She had not missed him last night. Much. Tossing a balled up sock at his head, she gives in a little. “The flight to Atlantis will take three weeks, you know. That’s more than enough time for you to make things up to me.”
He frowns. “Shouldn’t that be the other way around?”
“Not if you want to share my quarters, it shouldn’t.”
“In that case I am incredibly sorry and utterly apologetic.”
Sam rolls her eyes. “Yes, I’m sure you are.”
“Very much so.” He turns his head and looks at her. “I do like it when you’re mad with me though. Your eyes get very blue and your cheeks flush. It’s hot.”
“You are a very warped individual.” She can’t help but laugh at him, despite that. “Get off my bed and straighten the cover. I’m just about packed and we need to move.”
Watching his muscles flex as he first sits and then gets to his feet makes her wish they had longer than half an hour. Three weeks aboard a spaceship, in tight quarters; yeah, no one’s going to have any doubt as to how far along their relationship has gotten.
Not that she hides it as such. She is not ashamed of him or her attraction to him. But given who and what he is, she knows that rubbing it in certain people’s faces doesn’t do her any favours. The threat of court martial was only dismissed after she pointed out that no one had questioned Daniel’s determination to find Sha’re. Not to mention what he risked over Sarah.
Baal’s soft query pulls her out of retrospection. She shakes herself and smiles at him. “Sorry, I was just thinking.”
He watches her for a moment, then digs his hand into his pockets. “Regretting my inclusion?”
System Lord over a goodly part of the galaxy, over two thousand years old, and he still acts like an immature teenager at times. She gives a soft laugh and moves over to him. Sliding her hands around his waist, she gives him a squeeze and kisses his cheek. “Honestly? No, I’m really not. I was going to miss you.”
His demeanour shifts in an instant, his face breaking into a wide smile. Then a more familiar look enters his eyes, one that makes heat tingle through her.
“Twenty five minutes,” she breathes. “Just... please, don’t.” She doesn’t stand a chance if he chooses to push it and she knows that. “We’ll be late.”
“I can wait.” He steps away, but Sam catches the shudder as he represses his desire. “After all, I get you alone for three weeks.”
God, but she hopes the walls are sound-proofed. “Are you going to let me leave the room?”
“Probably not,” he says with a shrug, “In fact, I doubt that I’m going to let you get dressed.”
Now it’s her that shudders. He grins at her. “Yes, well,” she says, and runs a shaking head through her hair. “Just remember that one of us isn’t quite as... enduring as the other. I don’t think Shepherd is expecting me to arrive broken.”
“Would I?” He pokes at one of her bags. “Now, did you remember to pack handcuffs?”
Sam just closes her eyes.
Twenty days goes past remarkably quickly when her attention is elsewhere. Sam stretches out on her – their – bed and turns to watch the stars slide by the window. Her limbs feel heavy, the pleasant lethargy of the afterglow filling her. Baal has vanished with the promise of getting her something to eat – he’s kept both promises, and she’s not worn a stitch since boarding the Daedalus nor left their quarters. Furthermore, he’s cut off all but the most important communications. She’s hardly spoken to another soul in nearly three weeks, but she doesn’t actually care.
They have needed this: an uninterrupted time together. It’s not been all sex – though a lot of that, and very good sex as well – they’ve been talking; about themselves and their pasts, about their feelings and the future of their relationship. It’s been quite the eye-opener. Her relaxed state isn’t just down to having just had another incredible orgasm, but because she is more secure about what is going on than she has been since they first started dating.
She smiles to herself, a ridiculous bubble of happiness rising in her chest. Her choice of lover might raise eyebrows, but she is perfectly content, safe in the knowledge that the casual declarations of love and affection that he’s been tossing at her for weeks now aren’t quite as casual as she thought. He loves her. And she is very much in love with him.
It is, she supposes, the honeymoon of the relationship. That seems to be how Baal has treated these last twenty days, at least. She hasn’t asked him what he really thinks. She knows that he will tell her when he’s ready. It is probably the most complicated affair she’s ever had, but it’s worth the effort. Her lips curve as she recalls their last love-making session – oh, it’s very worth it.
The door slides open and Baal saunters in. He has breakfast, balanced carefully on a tray; but he also has scruffy, just-out-of-bed hair and a shadow of stubble because he’s been too busy to shave. The shirt he wears is only half buttoned up, revealing a triangle of tanned chest, and the short sleeves show off his muscular arm. Arousal floods through her: he is gorgeous. And he is hers.
“Hey, you,” she purrs and parts her legs in wanton invitation. “I was just wondering if I needed to send out a search party.”
He grins and comes over, putting the tray on the nightstand. His eyes scan her body appreciatively. “I’m sorry, did you miss me?”
“Terribly.” Her sex is throbbing with the need for his touch, which is frankly ridiculous since they’ve only just ended an extended session. But it seems the more she gets, the more she needs. “What have you done to me?”
Baal sits on the bed, his gaze steady on her face. “I have given you something that you’ve been craving for a very long time,” he says seriously. “You have denied yourself intimacy, Samantha, and now your body is getting that need filled, all those years are making themselves known.” He leans forward and kisses her lightly on the mouth. “The desperate hunger will ease eventually, I imagine. In the meantime, I unapologetically intend to take every advantage of you.”
The dark promise makes her wriggle. “Oh, please.”
He grins. “In good time, my darling, but right now you must eat. I can’t have you wasting away to nothing, can I?”
Her stomach rumbles. She supposes that she ought to eat something. With a sigh, she pushes up the bed and sits. Baal covers her over, apparently removing the worse of temptation, and then plonks the tray on her knee.
He watches her eat, which is disconcerting to say the least.
“Aren’t you having anything?” she asks and gets a catty grin.
“I suppose I asked for that.”
“I would rather have you begging.”
Heat flushes through her. She has done that; he’s made her do that, holding her down with his far superior strength, holding himself out of reach while she’s writhed beneath him desperately. And all the while pleading and begging him to please, please fuck her.
Sam closes her eyes with a groan. “I thought you wanted me to eat?”
“That as well.”
“Well, you aren’t helping.” Opening her eyes, she gives him a look. “I’d have thought three weeks would be enough to curb your libido a little.”
A very naughty smirk crosses his mouth and she braces. “Ah, but Goa’ulds possess the strength of many men. We can last for considerably longer.”
Like she’s not noticed that. “Is that your secret, then?”
“Part of it. There is another part that happens to do with how inspirational you are – I mean, a God would have to be blind as not to want you in every which way He can imagine, Samantha – but also because even without my symbiote I’m pretty much a complete pervert.”
She chokes on her toast, having to grab the glass of OJ and take a quick sip to ease the coughing. Wiping tears from her eyes, she glares at him. Though that is rather ruined by the chuckling she can’t stop. “You are a very bad individual,” she tells him.
He shrugs that off. “Yes, I am aware of that.” The smirk comes back. “You can spank me if it would make you feel better.”
“Tell you what – disappear for fifteen minutes while I eat and grab a shower. Then I’ll see what I can do as regards a suitable... ah, punishment.”
“As you wish,” he says, ducking his head with a smile. The familiarity makes her smile and the sudden thought of reaching Atlantis tomorrow feels her with an aching regret.
“Baal,” she says. He stops at the door and glances back. “I... I’ve had a really great time.”
For a moment, he just gazes at her, then he gives her a genuine smile that threatens to break her heart. “Oh, Samantha my darling, do not despair. Just because we reach Atlantis doesn’t mean that our journey is over. In fact, I do believe we have only just begun.”
She feels quite foolish for imagining otherwise. “I...” Unable to articulate what emotions run through her, she blurts out. “Good.”
“It is, yes.” That settled he nods. “Now finish your breakfast while I go and bother Hermiod.”
It’s dusk as the Daedalus sinks through the atmosphere. Sam, dressed for the first time in three weeks, stands on the bridge and watches as the Ancient city comes into sight. The sun is on the horizon, the clouds tinted red and orange, and Atlantis is lit up – a sparkling snowflake on a navy velvet ocean. It is easily the most beautiful thing she has ever seen.
“She’s magnificent,” she says aloud.
“She is, rather, isn’t she?” Caldwell replies. “I tell you Colonel, that even with the number of flights I’ve made, there’s nothing like this first sight of her.”
Sam can’t imagine getting used to it, either. The nerves of being in a new place that have not entirely settled over the past twenty one days despite her... distraction finally dissipate. She doesn’t know how long her tour of duty will be, but it’s certainly a change from the concrete-grey of SGC’s corridors.
“Well, now, would you look at that?” Baal’s appreciative voice carries across the bridge. Sam catches Caldwell tense, though given his own very personal experience with a Goa’uld, perhaps that is not surprising. The captain of the Daedalus says nothing as Baal wanders over to her. “So this is home for the next little while? I do believe that I rather approve.”
“Can I trust you not to run amok and cause chaos?”
“Oh, please Samantha.” His arms wind around her, regardless as to the eyes that watch them. Sam finds that she doesn’t care. “Of course you can’t,” he finishes and she laughs.
“Surprise me, some time.”
He chuckles. She leans back against him, utterly content. Her home is a beautiful city on the sea and her companion is a handsome – if rather impossible – man who loves her as much as she loves him.
She doesn’t say that, though. Not until the party is over and they’re on the balcony of their rather palatial quarters. The ocean washes against Atlantis, a soft susurration of sound, and the sky is a sparkly sea of stars. Baal stands behind her, arms around her torso, and her head rests on his shoulder.
Then... then she says it. Finally voices the three words she’s been meaning to for a while, but for some reason hasn’t dared until now.
“I love you.”
She feels his smile on her cheek. “I assume that you do not longer doubt our future together,” he notes. His voice is soft and low, touched with a gentle humour. She lays her hands over his.
“If I said I was, would you lock me in our quarters for three weeks?”
“Nah.” His arms tighten. “It would be longer.”
“You’re insatiable, you know that right?”
“Yes, now answer the damn question.”
Sam laughs. “No, I don’t.” She lifts his hands off her hips and then turns in the circle of his embrace. Smiling at him, she winds her arms around his neck. “I don’t doubt you and I don’t doubt us.”
Baal sighs. “Took you long enough.”
“I know. I guess... I guess I was letting everything get to me.”
“Indubitably.” He lifts a hand and brushes her hair out of her eyes. Sam closes her eyes, turning into that soft touch with a contented sigh. “And as for the other thing? I... return the sentiment.”
“Say it,” she breathes, her lips a millimetre from his. “Please.”
His mouth opens, and at the look in his eyes Sam braces herself, but then he checks himself. She’s seen that sort of hesitation before, though it’s been a very long time, and the recollection brings a smile to her face. He returns it, warm and gentle, and his eyes soften. “I love you, Samantha.”
Sam closes the gap. Her last coherent thought is that, whatever else Atlantis brings, there will always be a hard, hot body to come ‘home’ to and a pair of strong arms to hold her. This is what her father wanted for her, though probably not the person he ever expected her to find happiness with.
Somehow, she thinks that he might not mind.